Lamberth: Bill to block ‘harassing’ requests is part of transparency push

Lawmakers gather in Nashville for the first day of the 111th General Assembly. (Erik Schelzig, Tennessee Journal)

House Majority Leader William Lamberth’s bill seeking to block people deemed to be “harassing” records custodians from obtaining public records is part of what he is calling push for greater transparency in state government.

The Portland Republican’s bill would allow custodians to seek judicial intervention if a member of the public makes three or more annual requests “in a manner that would cause a reasonable person” to feel abused, intimidated, threatened, or harassed.  The same would go for people making multiple requests that are “not made in good faith or for any legitimate purpose.”

A release from Lamberth’s office on Friday makes no mention of the specifics of his proposed legislation other than to say it will “protect record custodians.” But he said an amendment is coming to expand government openness by streamlining requests and increasing online access to records.

Here’s the full release from Lamberth’s office:

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — House Majority Leader William Lamberth (R-Portland) today is calling for greater government transparency that will further serve to protect all records custodians, while expanding public availability of open records through increased online access.

“I am calling on both state departments and local governments to evaluate all records that may be placed online and to explore ways to increase availability,” said Leader Lamberth.

“Republicans in the legislature stand for more transparency for our citizens,” said Tennessee House Speaker Glen Casada (R-Franklin). “I am fully supportive of Leader Lamberth’s efforts, and I appreciate his desire to lead on this issue.”

Lamberth is currently working with all interested parties and constituents on an amendment to House Bill 626 in efforts to streamline the process of open records requests, protect record custodians, increase online accessibility, and to enhance government transparency.

“In this day and age with all of our technology, we should be able to fulfill open records requests online,” added Lamberth.

William Lamberth is the House Majority Leader for the 111th Tennessee General Assembly. He is also a member of the House Finance, House Government Operations, and House Calendar & Rules Committees, as well as the House Criminal Justice Subcommittee. Lamberth lives in Portland and represents Tennessee House District 44, which includes part of Sumner County.

2 Responses to Lamberth: Bill to block ‘harassing’ requests is part of transparency push

  • Susan E Gingrich says:

    If there was real transparency at all levels of TN government, including school districts, so many record requests wouldn’t be needed to figure out what is really going on. #Patriots Reborn

  • Norma Shirk says:

    Seriously? Banning citizens from learning about how their tax dollars are spent is creating transparency? That’s some of the best doublespeak since George Orwell’s novel 1984.

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